Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Struggling against death in Gaza: PCHR on the plight of rheumatoid arthritis and Leukemia patients

On Tuesday, 26 October 2013, the Economic and Social Rights Unit at the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) organized a workshop titled ‘Patients Struggling against Death in Gaza: The Case of Rheumatoid Arthritis and Leukemia Patients.’ The workshop was held in PCHR’s head office in Gaza City. Specialists representing the Ministry of Health and the World Health Organization (WHO), a number of rheumatoid arthritis and leukemia patients and representatives of civil society organizations, especially health ones, participated in the workshop.

Dr. Riyad al-Za’noun, Former Minister of Health and Chairman of PCHR’s Board of Directors, opened the workshop, noting that it was organized as part of the cooperation and coordination between PCHR and organizations concerned with local and international health services in the Gaza Strip. Al-Za’noun added that the workshop aimed to discuss the shortage of medicines for rheumatoid arthritis and leukemia patients in the Gaza Strip, noting that Israel’s closure of the Gaza Strip, imposed since mid 2006, and the political division between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip are the main obstacles that lead to the shortage of such types of medicine. Patients are at the same time facing difficult economic conditions and cannot afford the prices of medicines which are too high for them. Dr. al-Za’noun stressed for the need to overcome the tragedy of the Palestinian political division, and called for urgent talks and coordination between both Health Ministries in Gaza and the West Bank.

Khalil Shahin, Director of PCHR’s Economic and Social Rights Unit, gave a presentation titled ‘Patients Struggling against Death in Gaza,’ in which he outlined that health conditions of rheumatoid arthritis and leukemia patients in the Gaza Strip have deteriorated in an unprecedented manner due to the shortage of the medicines they need for several consecutive months. Shahin wondered about the reasons that impede access to medicines regularly in the Gaza Strip, which leads to the deterioration of patients’ health conditions. He also wondered about the role of both Ministries of Health in the West Bank and Gaza in providing medicines in a timely manner. Shahin called for uniting efforts of both Ministries to prioritize the interest of patients in the Gaza Strip and provide them with the needed medicine and medical treatment.

Dr. Abdel Nasser Subuh, a representative of WHO, gave a presentation titled ‘WHO’s Role in Providing Rheumatoid Arthritis and Leukemia Patients with Medicines,’ pointing out that access to medicines for rheumatoid arthritis and leukemia patients constitutes a great challenge for the health organizations in the Gaza Strip, and that the Ministry of Health is responsible for providing the Gaza Strip with all medicines and medical supplies, adding that the financial crisis facing the Ministry made it unable to meet the needs of patients in

the Gaza Strip. Subuh added that WHO and international health organizations implemented two projects to buy medicines and medical supplies for rheumatoid arthritis and leukemia patients. Subuh warned of the continuing crisis of shortage of medicines and its impact on patients’ conditions, as any regularity delay in medicine leads to the deterioration of patients’ health conditions and may also lead to death. more

Ma'an office in Gaza re-opens

GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Authorities in the Gaza Strip re-opened Ma'an News Agency's Gaza City office on Tuesday, after four months of closure.

The public prosecutor in the Hamas government handed the keys over to the head of the news agency's Gaza City office and its attorney.

On Saturday, Gaza premier Ismail Haniyeh issued a decision to re-open the office.

The decision was welcomed by Ma'an's administration.

The government in Gaza also announced Tuesday it would re-open Al-Arabiya TV's offices in the Gaza strip.

Al-Arabiya was closed along with Ma'an on July 25.

On Monday, Paris-based Reporters Without Borders welcomed the Hamas government's decision to let Ma'an re-open its Gaza City office. more

Israeli navy opens fire a fishing boats in Gaza

Israeli navy boats opened fire, on Tuesday at dawn [November 19, 2013] at a number of Palestinian fishing boats near the Gaza coast causing damage but no injuries.

Eyewitnesses said that the fishermen had to sail back to the shore fearing additional assaults by the army.

Palestinian fishermen in Gaza are subject to frequent violations and assaults by the Israeli navy that attacks them even within the six miles allotted to them. The attacks led to dozens of casualties, arrests and significant damages to the boats.

In related news, a number of armored Israeli military vehicles, including six military bulldozers, carried out a limited intrusion into an area east of Khan Younis, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip. more

Gaza fighter killed, four injured in accidental explosion

GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- A Palestinian fighter was killed and four others were injured Tuesday morning in an explosion in Tal al-Hawa neighborhood of Gaza City.

Gaza medical sources confirmed to Ma'an that Muhammad al-Bahloul died shortly after he was evacuated to Shifa Hospital in Gaza City.

Medics added that four other fighters sustained minor to moderate wound.

Security sources in Gaza confirmed that the explosion was accidental and not an Israeli strike. more